Malaysian Hotels to Ban Bibles, Non-Islamic Books

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

KUALA, LUMPUR (Worthy News)-- A decision to ban hotels from carrying books on non-Islamic religions is further proof of the erosion of the rights of non-Muslims in Malaysia, according to the Malaysia Chronicle.

Lawyers said a failure to speak out against this decision now could see religious bodies taking on larger roles in regulating the daily lives of Malaysians.

Eric Paulsen, co-founder of "Lawyers For Liberty," told The Malay Mail that the new ban highlights a "growing Islamisation in Malaysia and growing encroachment of Islamic authorities in the day-to-day lives of all Malaysians, whether Muslims or non-Muslims."

Further, the move to officially prohibit non-Islamic religious materials from Pahang hotel rooms could lead to a slippery slope where more liberties are lost as federal and state authorities favor the rights of Muslims over those of non-Muslims.

"There is now a growing acceptance that this is an Islamic country and that Islam must have its way over non-Muslims and Islam is sacrosanct and their policies must trump all other people's rights".

Paulsen said that Pahang state's "Control and Restriction of the Propagation of Non-Islamic Religions Enactment (1989)" was arbitrary and went against the Federal Constitution's rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. And the silence of federal authorities on the state's latest prohibition can be seen as having their tacit approval.

Civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan said the ban was another case of state religious authorities attempting to extend their influence outside their jurisdictions. By this, the state is sending the message that Muslims are so fragile that they need to live in a protected sphere.